Wichita, Kan. -- Former Congressman Todd Tiahrt wants his old job back.
This afternoon, Tiahrt announced his intentions to run against incumbent Mike Pompeo in the 4th Congressional District Republican primary election. Tiahrt made the announcement Thursday afternoon in front of supporters at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita.
Tiahrt previously held the seat from 1995 until 2011, leaving office after an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sam Brownback. Tiahrt lost in the 2010 Senate primary to Jerry Moran.
Right now, Tiahrt and Pompeo are the only Republicans in the running. Pompeo began running campaign ads on Wichita television several days ago, and responded to Tiahrt's candidacy. More on that story can be found by clicking here.
The only Democrat running in the 4th District so far is Perry Schuckman of Wichita.
Thursday afternoon, Todd Tiahrt's campaign issued the following release:
Todd Tiahrt announced his decision to enter the race for Kansas’ Fourth District Congressional seat today. It was a thoughtful decision based on differences with the current Congressman, Mike Pompeo of vision, issues, personality and public service. Citing his 16 years of experience, Todd Tiahrt believes that the people of Kansas should come first not the perks or privileges that accompany the office.
Tiahrt said, “A Congressional seat is contract labor. No one is entitled to be Congressman. No one has a right to be our Representative, it is earned. Every two years the contact expires and it is up to the boss, the voters, to decide whether or not to rehire their Representative. Do the voters want someone with more experience and a better track record or are they happy with what is going on in Washington. Personally, I am not pleased with the direction in Washington nor am I happy with what has happened to our economy in south central Kansas.”
Tiahrt’s vision for Kansas starts with our local economy and includes the protection of our privacy, the systematic reformation of our healthcare system to incorporate free market principles, strong national security, access to information for consumers, and opportunity for growth free from increasing government regulations. Tiahrt wants to return to a balanced budget as we had for four years prior to 9-11 and to fiscal responsibility. He believes it is time to withhold funds allocated for inappropriate Executive Orders and regulations that have not been approved by Congress.
For sixteen years, Tiahrt worked to keep aircraft workers at their facilities in the 4th District. During the down swing in aviation, Tiahrt fought for Accelerated Depreciation tax benefits for general aviation, which immediately increase aircraft sales for Cessna, Beechcraft and Bombardier. Using the earmark process Tiahrt reprioritized FAA funding to build a taxiway for Cessna’s Service Center which employed 600 new workers. Again designating funds he accelerated the sale of JPATS trainers from Beechcraft to the US Air Force and the US Navy. At Bombardier’s request he directed the FAA to provide a Compass Rose for calibration of avionics for their flight test programs which moved to Wichita. For Boeing, Tiahrt doggedly pursued E-6B Airborne Command Post 747’s cockpit upgrades for work at their Wichita modification center along with maintenance of the Presidential fleet and other programs.
Tiahrt is also known for his staunch pro-life and family-values stand. Over his career in politics he has been endorsed numerous times by both local and national pro-life and pro-family groups. His consistent 100% prolife voting record serves as one of Tiahrt’s most important accomplishments. “Protecting families, and life is one of the most important things we can do in America”, Tiahrt said. “That will never change - right now we need to make sure families can make ends meet.”
Since Tiahrt left office, good paying aviation jobs have been leaving the 4th district. Boeing and Beechcraft are no longer in business in Wichita. Many will remember that is was Tiahrt who successfully fought to overturn the largest defense contract in history when the US government sought to outsource the purchase of air refueling tankers from a French aerospace company. More recently the government has outsourced other aviation contracts to Brazil. Tiahrt believes that more should have been done to keep those jobs here in the US.
Tiahrt noted several stark differences where he and Congressman Mike Pompeo disagree. Most notable were concerns about Pompeo’s support of NSA surveillance of American citizens, support for numerous bills funding Obamacare, military action in Syria and efforts to restrict the labeling of food products containing genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
“In order to serve the 4th District of Kansas, our representative needs to be here listening to the people. Support of things like NSA surveillance, military action in Syria and funding Obamacare gives me great concern that Kansans are not being heard in Congress. I have a proven track record of listening and taking action to serve the people of this district and I am seeking the opportunity to serve them again,” Tiahrt stated.